GOAL: $1,200 USD
Arshia is a queer Iranian immigrant seeking refuge in Yerevan, Armenia. Before seeking refuge, he endured tremendous mental and physical abuse from his family in Iran. At age 16 (now 22), he was forced into conversion therapy. Years of conversion therapy, coupled with years of battling obsessive-compulsive disorder, led Arshia into a deep depression. He thought about suicide constantly.
In Iran, the idea that a person can be attracted to someone of the same sex is not widely accepted. Homosexuality in Iran is often considered harmful and requires “fixing.” Adolescents cannot make legal decisions independently, so they end up bearing the brunt of this way of thinking.
Conversion therapy is a pseudoscientific practice that assumes people with a non-traditional sexual orientation are psychologically damaged. Proponents of conversation therapy believe “making a person straight” will benefit the individual and society as a whole. In Iran, conversion therapy can include counseling, prayers, aversion therapies, drugs or hormone injections, electroconvulsive therapy, and, at extremes, sex reassignment surgery. Most of these so-called treatments for homosexuality, including conversion therapy, are now banned in many parts of the world. Any attempt to change someone's sexual orientation, contrary to their desire, violates their fundamental human rights and needs to be banned globally.
Arshia is just one example of how conversion therapy can ruin a person’s life. He was already struggling with mental health before he began conversion therapy, and the process only worsened things. Multiple studies have found that the long-term effects of conversion therapy may include anxiety, depression, PTSD, drug use, homelessness, and even suicide. Arshia and those in similar positions deserve access to safe spaces and the freedom to be themselves. We mustn't ignore the dangers of conversion therapy and continue spreading awareness for queer people everywhere.
Despite his traumatic experiences in Iran, Arshia has often found comfort and joy through art and music, so he decided to enroll in Yerevan State Conservatory, named after Komitas (Komitas Conservatory), and is studying to become a composer. Your donation will help him pay for his first year of tuition.
The funds raised will be transferred directly to Arshia’s boyfriend, Kelly. Kelly will then transfer the funds over to Arshia’s bank. Receipts will be provided when the transfers have been executed. Thank you for reading Arshia’s story and considering donating to help him cover the cost of tuition. Your donation will have an incredible impact on his life and future. By assisting Arshia to continue his education, you are allowing him to thrive and sending a message that he is not alone and deserves to be celebrated.
Please share this campaign with your friends and family to raise awareness about the challenges queer immigrants face every day.
Together, we can make a difference.